Thursday, 27 November 2014

Thursday Update and a new addition to our family!

Firstly Bob:

There isn't very much to report on Bob, other than he is hanging in there and seems to be doing OK.,  Slowly but surely.  There are no signs that the infection has spread as yet, so clearly Mehmet is keeping it under control.   We are avoiding popping into the clinic too much.  They are very busy there and we are always reluctant to interrupt their work.  We get phone updates from Mehmet, and if there was any cause for concern he would let us know.  Otherwise, we leave him to get on with the job that he does so well.

We are gradually naming the "regulars" who stand waiting for Mr A to feed them every evening.  The dog who was shot is called Pasha, the brown dog is called Kahve, and another female who I don't seem to have a photo for is called Cindy (this was decided upon by Mr A who has always had a bit of a crush on  Cindy Crawford!).  Cindy is a retriever type dog who has had several litters of pups.  She was amongst those gathered up by the Belediye some time ago and taken to the Milas shelter to be spayed.  She has the ear tag to signify this.

She was very thin when she was returned from the shelter and has been fed well by us since, and is now very healthy....and no more litters...I'm sure she's had enough of being pregnant!

There are around 9 or 10 other dogs roaming the village, but we don't always see them.  Occasionally they turn up, but they appear to be well so we assume they are finding food from somewhere.  We feed them anyway.

Two more new dogs appeared last night.  One seems to have a bad leg, but he disappeared as fast as he came, so Mr A couldn't get close enough to examine him.

The other new one is a Kangal, who, because of his size, caused the men in the teahouse to stand clear.  Mr A however has no fear, and here he is making friends with him. I'm thinking of calling him Aydin, as here he is outside the Aydin teahouse.

Isn't he a big boy?

We will of course feed him and any others that appear, and try to catch any who need vet treatment.

Mr A and I discussed the possibility of building some kind of shelter down in the village for the dogs, and to put blankets inside.  Somewhere for them to seek refuge from the rain and cold.   Sadly it's something we don't dare attempt to do, because Mr A tells me that the men in the village blame everything on the street dogs.  They say they kill and eat their chickens.  They probably did when they were starving, but we know that when dogs get regular food every day, they tend to stop doing this.  My rescues at home were the same.  Now they have no interest in the chickens.

If we were to provide a shelter, Mr A says the men would know where to find them and there would be a risk of them being shot.  We have a lot of derelict houses in the village and we are pretty sure the dogs move around from one to the other to find shelter and stay safe.

Finally, we are collecting another pup in desperate need tonight.  This little boy, Fistik, is about 10 weeks old.  He was originally in a shelter and taken by a volunteer for fostering as he had an infection.  This was cleared up with vet treatment. One of the other pups being fostered developed an infection and Fistik was removed from the fosterer to avoid cross infection,  This was the plea for help from Chris at the Marmaris Animal Welfare group on Tuesday:

URGENT PLEA FOR A FOSTER CARER FOR FISTIK - Fistik was being fostered by Rachel  along with Siyah, two pups from the Pound. Another foster home had been found for Fistik but this has unfortunately fallen through. We now have a dilemma, as Siyah is not well and to avoid cross infection Rachel can't take Fistik back. Please please is there anyone who can foster for a few weeks while a permanent home is found?
Fistik is tiny, he's going to be a very small dog. If a foster home can't be found TODAY then he will have to return to the Pound, where he will have to sleep in the rat infested portacabin as there's nowhere he can go which is safe as he's so small.
He's a lovely little pup, loves being carried around, almost a tea cup pup!
Please please can anyone help?
 Tiny Fistik

I offered to give him a permanent home, as it is well know that these tiny dogs do not do well in shelters, and often don't survive.  I had already made plans to go to Koycegiz this coming Sunday for the Christmas Fayre, and we were to collect Sonia from Gokova Animal Rescue on the way.   So pleas for a temporary foster until Sunday were put out on Facebook, and Chris managed to find someone in Marmaris to keep him until then.

This fosterer fell in love with Fistik and asked if she could keep him.  I was asked if I minded, which of course I didn't.  The aim was to find a home for this little guy, and that seemed to have been we hoped this would be his happy ending.  The power of Facebook never ceases to amaze me.  Good teamwork by Marmaris Animal Welfare too.

I was contacted this morning and informed that the placement had not worked out, and would I still take him.  Of course I said I would, and Mr A felt that the sooner we collected him the better.  He needs to be house trained, and there has been so much disruption already in his short life.    

So this evening when Mr A finishes work, we are attempting to arrange for us to drive to Gokova.  We will meet up with Sonia (which I am looking forward to), and hopefully Chris will be able to drive from Marmaris to meet us with Fistik.
Plans are yet to be finalised, but hopefully Fistik will be with us tonight or as soon as possible.

We weren't looking for another dog.  I would have loved to have given a home to Bob once his treatment is finished, but having twice attempted to take in big dogs in recent months it has proved impossible.  My 7 big dogs just won't accept them.  Bob will be vulnerable after everything he has been through so I can't risk bringing him here where the others might attack him.

We will try our utmost to find a home for him, but if not will put him back in the village in his familiar surroundings and continue to care for him along with the others.

Fistik will be fine.  There is room on the bed for another little one with Monty and Tommy, and all the big dogs are tolerant of the little ones and accept them readily.

So ......... then there were 10!!!


Monday, 24 November 2014

UPDATE on Bob and other village dogs

For those of you who didn't see my status on Facebook on Saturday, I'm copying it here because it is self-explanatory:

A street dog called Bob. For those of you who read my last blog post, he was referred to as the dog with the broken leg. We have been trying desperately to catch him to get treatment but he has remained elusive for the past week.
This morning it was obvious even at a distance that his leg was badly infected, so drastic measures needed to be taken, and with the help of a borrowed tranquiliser gun Mr A was able to capture him and take him to our vet.
He will remain in the clinic for around 20 days. It will probably take about 10 days for the infection to clear before he can be operated on. Our vet Mehmet will try to save the leg, but we should be prepared for amputation if necessary. He is now in safe hands at last and I will update when I have more to report.
Then a little later:

Bob is with our vet in Milas now. The infection is quite bad and has been cleaned thoroughly and he is on antibiotics and serum. It would seem that he was shot and the bullet passed through the bone. It will be cleaned and redressed every 2 days and should take 10 days to clear up. Our vet Mehmet says that he is hopeful that he can operate and save the leg as the nerves aren't damaged.

I was unable to get to the clinic yesterday as Mr A was working and the buses are so infrequent on Sundays, that I missed one and then had no idea when another one would come along.  However, Mehmet wasn't at the clinic yesterday, just his staff, but we phoned to check and Bob is doing OK.  It's early days of course so we can't expect too much as yet, but we will be going down this evening to see him.

I have some veterinary wound powder which was given to me by Sonia at Gokova Animal Rescue, and another "friend" of the street animals in Turkey, Emma, brings supplies of this from the UK for several rescue groups.  She has kindly offered to supply more.  She has messaged Sonia, who I will see next Sunday, who will give me more, which Emma will replace.   Mehmet is using something very similar at the moment on Bob, but he will probably run out in 2 or 3 days, so we will give him our supplies tonight.   I will also give him some more when we collect on Sunday.  This will  help to bring down the total bill for Bob's treatment.  So thankyou to Emma (and Sonia), as this is considered to be a donation, for which we are very grateful.

When Bob has had his operation, he will also be neutered and vaccinated and given his pet passport.  I would dearly love to find a good home for him.  In this respect I will post photos on Facebook in the next 10 days or so, when he is well on the road to recovery.

The brown dog I referred to in my earlier post, is now eating well.  He is being given a course of immune booster, and he is on a course of treatment for his skin condition, which is already working as you can see in the photos.  I would also like to get this boy neutered and vaccinated at some point.
Before food and treatment(taken at night so photo a bit dark)

Improving every day

The dog who was shot, but whose wound had healed, is also eating well and looking much healthier.  Again, we would like to neuter and vaccinate this boy, and also to have Mehmet check him over and make sure that he is OK.

Before we started feeding

A healthier and more trusting dog now having a cuddle with Mr A.

We will of course face a bill at the end of all this, particularly for Bob's treatment,  so donations at this time would be very much appreciated.   No matter how small...every little helps.

Please help if you can.  You will find the Paypal button at the top of this page.

(And please forgive me for the constant appeals for money.  It really isn't in my nature to plead for help, but these dogs need it...Thankyou)

Friday, 21 November 2014

It never rains, but it pours ....

....literally and metaphorically.

We did get some rain this week.  Quite a lot, but the sun is shining today and it's gradually drying out.

It's been a week of problems with the car, and workwise for Mr A.  There has been no work at the boatyard since Tuesday, and we are not certain when it will start again.  Needless to say, Mr A still hasn't been paid, but he's hopeful it will be today.  I'm my usual pessimistic self when it comes to Mr A being we'll see.

He had an appointment at Mugla hospital yesterday at 9.00am.  When he returned to the car, it wouldn't start.  He managed to find a mechanic who said that it needed a new dynamo.  He settled for a secondhand replacement, because a new one was just too expensive.  It took pretty much all day to fix, during which time he called in on his cousin and her husband who live in Mugla.  Every cloud...etc.... His cousin's husband owns a tool shop and gave Mr A a tilecutter and another drill type thingy (I'm not into tools), which will be very useful once our business takes off.

Mr A thought he had a job over in Yalikavak for today, but unfortunately the customer decided to use someone local, which is fair enough.  It's only to be expected that this will happen from time to time.

When Mr A returned home from Mugla last night, he hit a fair amount of rain on his journey and as he was almost here he went through huge puddle and the car stopped.  A friend came out from the village to tow him back.  He is as I type, down in the village drying out the engine with my hairdryer (please let the hairdryer come home without any damage!).  There are always problems with our cars, but we only ever have old ones to it's inevitable.  Oh for a lottery win and a brand new car without problems!

As a result of my last post I received a few more donations.  Thankyou so much everyone for your lovely response.  As a result, we were able to get necessary treatments from our vet.

Also, Melek and Dave had quite a nasty fight this week.  It's really my fault.  I bought bones from the supermarket for my rescues and the village dogs.

The 7 big dogs were given a bone each.  (Monty and Tommy have chewsticks rather than bones as they are small).

This is the first time that Chas, Dave and Melek have had bones.  They were very excited and enjoyed chewing them for a couple of hours.   However, once Dave had finished his he attempted to take Melek's and she wasn't happy.  She attacked him and it took both Mr A and I armed with a broom and the hosepipe to seperate them.  As a result Dave had some puncture wounds on his face and ear, which I treated with antibacterial powder.

Just to make sure, we got an antibiotic injection from the vet, and the wounds are healing up nicely.  If I decide to give them bones in future, I will attach them to the chains I use for them when I feed them.   It was a stupid mistake of mine not to do this first...but I've learned my lesson.  

We also got an injection and course of tablets to treat the brown village dog with bad skin, and this has been started.  We  got Monty's booster vaccinations done, and  Mehmet cut both Monty's and Tommy's nails free of charge.  

We have decided that Mr A will use Mehmet's tranquilliser gun to sedate the dog with the broken leg, but we are awaiting the return of the gun from another customer.  This dog remains elusive.  He didn't appear for feeding last night, but probably will today.  It's still difficult to get him to come close, so the gun will hopefully be the answer.

As soon as we are able to capture him, he will be taken to Mehmet's for any treatment necessary.  At the same time he will be neutered and vaccinated.

It is our dearest wish to make sure that all village dogs are neutered or spayed and vaccinated this winter.  With your help we can make this happen, so your donations really are making a difference and of course more are always needed. (As usual you will find the Paypal button at the top of this page).

Thankyou xxx

Tuesday, 18 November 2014



During the past week or so a few more dogs have arrived in the village.   They have not been made welcome by people here.   I use the word "people" loosely because I am yet again dismayed at the cruelty inflicted on innocent animals by so called human beings.

Three of the dogs were in a bad way.  Mr A has attempted to find out what happened to two of the dogs, and although people know, no-one will disclose who injured them.

This dog has had his leg deliberately broken:
The photo is not clear as this poor dog just runs when anyone approaches 

This dog has been shot:

And this poor dog is simply starving.

The dog whose leg is broken is very scared.  He doesn't always appear when Mr A goes to feed, and even if he does, food has to be placed on the ground and Mr A must retreat before the dog comes near.  He really is in need of medical treatment...if we can catch him.

Recent attempts to get the Belediye vet to take in more dogs in need of care have not worked, nor has the pressure put on the leader of the Belediye (council) produced any results.  In fact you may recall my mentioning in a previous post that the council leader recently visited the village and Mr A pointed out the problem with the dogs, and the leader suggested poisoning them.

He should know better.  He must be aware of the law in this country that is supposed to protect street animals, and that anyone being deliberately cruel or attempting to kill the dogs is likely to be prosecuted.

Mr A has written about these dogs on our village Facebook page and made it clear that according to the law, anyone discovered being cruel to the street animals will be reported, and that we will not stop until we find out who injured the two dogs above.

We have no choice but to try and get our vet to help us.  Mr A is still trying to gain the confidence of the dog with the broken leg when he appears so that he can catch him and take him to the clinic and Mehmet has agreed do whatever necessary to make sure this dog has no more pain.

The little thin dog seems to have perked up in the last couple of days.  He has  been wormed and  is eating well now.  He has a problem with his skin and we think it could be mange.  I am collecting injections and medication from the vet tomorrow.

Mr A also wormed the dog who was shot.  He has examined the wound which appears to have healed well.  He is eating and gradually appearing healthier.  We will watch him closely and if necessary get Mehmet to check him over.

Most of our donation money has now been used to stock up with food for the winter feeding programme.  We made use of special offers on food at various supermarkets recently, to buy as many sacks of food as cheaply as possible.

If we are going to attempt to get these dogs the treatment they so desperately require, we need more money.   Please help if you can.  You will find the Paypal button at the top of this page.


Mr A continues to work at the boatyard, although this really depends on the weather.  Because of rain, and the resultant muddy conditions, he has only managed 8 days work out of a possible 17 ...but it is better than nothing.

Of course he hasn't been paid yet.  His friend Bulent has the contract and agreed to pay Mr A 70 lira a day.   Bulent hasn't yet been paid by his customer so he is waiting and Mr A is waiting...this is par for the course.   He has also just told me that he has no work there for a few days from tomorrow.   We are more than used to all this unpredictability!

 There are other possible jobs in the pipeline, but nothing definite as yet.

Finally, yesterday I met up with my friend Elizabeth in Bodrum.  She and two friends travelled from Didim and we had a lovely few hours together.  A very good lunch and a stroll along the harbour on what turned out to be a beautiful sunny day.  Elizabeth, a natural dog magnet, (she has adopted several dogs from Turkey who now live with her in Scotland), saved scraps from lunch and fed a couple of dogs on our stroll.

I must say, the street dogs in Bodrum all seem very healthy and happy...quite a difference from our local dogs.

Elizabeth and me
Thankyou Elizabeth for the dog chews and collars for my dogs, and for the generous donation from you and Robert.

And thankyou everyone who has donated since last winter.  Without your help, none of this would be possible.

It's a beautiful morning here, just perfect for sitting on my balcony while I write this post.   We are having some lovely sunny days at the moment, but it's cold at night so the electric blanket is now in use.

That's all my news for now.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014


From time to time I get emails from people who have started up websites to help expats.

They tell me that they enjoy my blog and could I answer some questions which will be of help to others thinking of moving abroad, and to tell of my experiences, including photographs if possible.

I have responded to one or two in the past.  I was rewarded with their little logos to stick on my sidebar.  I was even awarded a Bronze medal once for an article.

There were competitions on one such website to write about some aspect of living as an expat.  I entered one, and discovered that these weren't necessarily judged on merit, but one had to get others to vote on Facebook.  The number of votes cast would go a long way to determine the winner.

I'm not sure these people actually read my blog.  I believe they just search for expat blogs and send out their standard email, then gather the results which then provides content for their websites.

There's nothing wrong with all this of course.  These websites probably do help a lot of people, but they are not for me.   I have politely declined the latest request.  I don't feel that I have anything to offer expats.  I don't live as an expat.  My life is simple and mostly consists of rescuing and feeding street dogs.   So any interview given by me would probably not be of much interest to those about to emigrate who want to know about all the practicalities of health insurance, buying or renting property, etc.

I do have a few expat friends, but these friendships are really based on what we have in common, rather than because we are all expats.

These interviews also make me a little uncomfortable.  I feel they are intrusive, particularly in terms of the kinds of personal questions asked, and the request for photos.

Like most of my blogging friends, I don't use my real name for blogging.  (Although many of you do know my name through our friendships on Facebook, or by email, and some of you I have been fortuate enough to meet in person).

It's this little bit of anonymity that allows us to share aspects of our life on our blogs that perhaps we wouldn't if we were writing under our real names.

So I have removed the little expat website logos from my blog.  It may mean that I don't have such a wide circulation of my blog link, but I'm happy with that, and with those who already follow me.

Have you received these requests for interviews?  I'm sure some of you have very different opinions to mine, so I would be interested to hear them.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

This week's update

I mentioned in my last post that Mr A had been unwell recently.  He had made several trips to the hospital while I was in England and was due an ultrasound yesterday.

I'm afraid we are both dreadful at getting things checked out when we should, and just put it off until it becomes painful or a nuisance.  I have also been suffering from pains in my chest and heartburn on and off for months, but in recent weeks the condition has been constant.

We decided that yesterday would be a good time to check me out at the hospital too.

We spent almost all day there.  Mr A's ultrasound showed that he has two very large cysts on his liver.  These will be monitored for any change, and may mean surgery.  He has to go back in one month.  He also has an enlarged prostate, which will also be checked again.  He has to start a low cholesterol diet...which will be hard for this man who loves his food...but it's important to keep him healthy,

I saw a doctor about my problem, and he also examined my stomach.  At one point he pressed an area which was so painful that I nearly shot through the roof. I was sent for blood and urine tests and an ultrasound.  The result was a urinary tract infection and a kidney infection.  I then saw a urologist and prescribed lots of medication (as usual Turkish doctors over-medicate).  I did have back and stomach pain after I arrived back from England, but had put it down to lifting my luggage...seems this wasn't the case.

As for the heartburn, the ultrasound showed a gastric/oesphagus problem and I am booked for an endoscopy next Friday.  The results will arrive 15 days after that, at around the time Mr A has another visit to the hospital, so we will go together again.  

I love it that we are doing things together for a change...but wish it was something a little more pleasant than hospital visits!

Whilst waiting for test results, we took the opportunity to feed some cats in the hospital grounds.   We always carry food in the boot of the car.

This week Mr A started work at a boatyard in Gulluk, renovating boats.  He is working with his builder friend Bulent.  It's Bulent's contract so he is paying Mr A a daily rate.  Not a huge amount, but Bulent provides transport and food.  Obviously Mr A would like to start getting his own building work, but this job is very useful in the meantime.  

And as usual Mr A the dog magnet, made friends with a local dog.

We continue to feed the village dogs.....this is one dog who is not as scared as some of the others, and allowed Mr A to take a photo.

As we are trying to make sure that we have enough food to feed dogs through the winter, we are not feeding the industrial estate dogs every day.  They are being fed scraps by workers on the estate, and we are dropping off sacks of food to supplement this, as and when finances permit.

We also gave a small bag of dog food to one of the local shepherds this week for his dog.  This man looks after his dog as best he can, but I felt he needed fattening up a bit, so I'll keep a eye on him.  

Our neighbour, Dursune is feeding half a dozen cats with scraps.  I've also given her some food too, and will help whenever I can.

So that's all my news for now.  Have a good weekend everyone.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Home again

It took me 16 hours to get home, with a flight on Sunday night from Heathrow to Istanbul, then the domestic transfer to Bodrum on Monday morning.

Travelling Business class (thanks to a free ticket with my airmiles) made it a lot more bearable than usual.  Turkish Airlines use the Lufthansa lounge at Heathrow which is very pleasant and provides the usual array of food and drinks.  I had a 5 hour stopover in Istanbul, having arrived at 4.15am.   Even though the THY website states that the lounge is open at Ataturk airport at 4.00am, it doesn't actually open until 5.00am.

This time I used the lounge in Domestic departures.   As usual security in Turkish airports is more than thorough.   I asked where the lounge was and was told to go through the security x-ray machines to domestic departures, which I did.   However, it wasn't there, but back where I had come from, so after much discussion one of the security men let me back through.

I went down in a lift and through another x-ray check to get into the Lounge.  It was very comfortable and well equipped with free wifi and beverages.  However, getting out of the lounge and back to Domestic departures wasn't so easy.  There seemed to be no way to achieve this, and I asked several times, and was eventually directed outside the building.   I then had to walk several hundred yards to the entrance to the Domestic building, where I went through another xray check.   Then to departures....and yet another x-ray check.   (Note to self: if flying business class again in the future DO NOT use the Domestic business class lounge).

I finally arrived at Bodrum airport around midday, where Mr A was waiting...and home to a very enthusiastic welcome from all my dogs.  I was quite tired by this time but unable to relax so spent the day putting washing through the machine and generally tidying up.  I had the start of a cold, a parting gift from Jimi, and was finally in bed and asleep by 8.00pm.   When I got up at 6.00am on Tuesday the cold was much worse so most of the day was spent in bed.  I am feeling loads better now though.

Mr A has been unwell during my time away and has had several trips to the hospital.  He has to have an ultrasound on Friday, and then possibly further treatment, so as yet we don't know what the problem is.

He did, however, manage to complete the shelter for the pups kennels, and he has been to feed the village dogs and those at the industrial estate every day.  There are around 12 or 13 dogs in the village and approximately 25 at the industrial estate.

As you can imagine, we are getting through a considerable amount of food, and as usual I am very grateful to all of you who have donated.  This feeding programme is ongoing so if we are to continue to help these dogs survive, particularly during the winter months,  more donations are needed.  Any amount, no matter how small, is very welcome.  It all helps.  (You will find the Paypal button at the top of this page).

Thankyou to all of you who follow my blog and your words of encouragement, which are very much appreciated.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Home and Away

This is Day 13 of my trip to England and it has passed very quickly.  I have spent a lot of time with Stella, Billy and Jimi and it's been very enjoyable...and tiring.


At the park


Tomorrow the boys are having a Halloween party with a few of their friends, so Stella and I are shopping for goodies today, and tomorrow morning we'll be decorating the sitting room with suitably ghoulish decorations.

Meanwhile at home, Mr A has been poorly while I've been away and feeling a bit sorry for himself.  There has also been a fair bit of rain.  In spite of this he has managed to complete the shelter to cover the kennels for Chas, Dave and Melek.

Chas, Dave, Melek and Monty

Tommy relaxing

Mr A continues to feed the village dogs every day.  There are now 13 in total.

The Milas Belediye manager visited the village last week and Mr A approached him again about the plight of the dogs, saying that those that needed treatment and neutering should be collected by the Belediye vet and taken to the shelter.   The manager suggested that they be poisoned!!   Mr A had to be restrained by men in the teahouse to stop him hitting the manager, but strong words were spoken.  How on earth do we stand a chance of getting the Belediye vet to do the job he is paid to do if his manager has this attitude!

Mr A is also feeding the industrial estate dogs every two days, because one of the men who promised to feed them is not doing so.   He is leaving sacks of food with another man at the far end of the estate who is feeding 4 or 5 dogs, but there are now around 25 dogs on the estate.

Thanks again to all those who have kindly donated, but we always need more if we are to continue long term.  Every little helps.  Thankyou.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

My personal pedicurist

Four years ago I wrote THIS POST about the state of my feet.   Ever since then I have been doing what I can to improve their condition.  They do get a bit better from time to time, but I'm afraid I get distracted and don't always remember to spend time taking care of them.

I get embarrassed about my feet and don't like anyone seeing them.  There is one exception though.... Mr A.  I think it's normal when two people have been together for a long time,  to have no inhibitions.

He, like many Turks, seem to suffer with foot problems.  There are no chiropodists here, and those with time and money to spare will get a pedicure at a hair and beauty salon.   I'm pretty certain most of these "pedicurists" don't have any training, but they do seem to do a reasonable job.

I've yet to reach the point where I am happy enough with my feet to let anyone else touch them.  Mr A has similar problems with his feet from time to time, but I did notice when he finished the job in Gumbet that they were in much better condition.  He tells me he spent time watching the pedicurists in the beauty salon where he worked early in the season, and having learned how they work, started to treat his own feet...with good results.

So last week I let him loose on my feet.  He spent two hours on them, soaking them, exfoliating them, massaging...more soaking, more exfoliation, more massage, then finally liberal amounts of aloe vera cream. He also filed down the nails, which are always quite brittle, and they look much better.

Before I went to bed I covered them in something called Fito Krem, which I got from the chemist.  It's very much like vaseline but also contains an antiseptic.  As it's quite greasy it's best to wear clean cotton socks.

The result was a vast improvement, and Mr A insists that he will continue to be my personal pedicurist from now on.  Unfortunately there wasn't time to repeat the treatment before I came to England on Saturday.

I bought some cheap canvas shoes on Sunday which were very comfortable...until I started walking in them.  Now I have some nasty blisters and the shoes have been cast aside.

I can't wait to let Mr A loose on my feet again...they are certainly going to need it by the time I return home!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Class differences

I'm not talking about the difference in class between people here.  In fact class is something I rarely refer to, except perhaps to argue the point that we were all born equal, and "class" depends on money and circumstances.  Basically we are all human beings, good and bad, rich and poor, etc.

I am referring to class in terms of air travel.  As I write this I am in fact sitting in a comfortable armchair in the  Turkish Airlines business class lounge in Ataturk airport, Istanbul, awaiting my connecting flight to London.

I'd rather the word class wasn't used for the different levels of service and price in airline travel.  It somehow gives the impression that some people are better than others.   I would prefer the labels "basic/no frills" ticket, Economy ticket, and perhaps "luxury ticket" instead of Business class.

Having said all that I am so far enjoying the luxury of a Business "ticket" thanks to my saved airmiles and a promotion, and for once finding dates that suit me.

I only ever travelled this way once before, with Turkish Airlines, years ago when my father was dying, and the only ticket available to get me home quickly was in Business, so I had no choice.  It was certainly a very nice way to travel, but the reason for flying to the UK really didn't enable me to enjoy the experience.

I'm going to log the differences in service in this post, for my own reference really.  Many years ago I would always keep a daily diary of my travels, and it's good to look back years later.

In Economy on the domestic flight from Bodrum to Istanbul, which takes around one hour, passengers are given a small picnic box containing a sandwich and cake.

In Business this morning, before take-off I was served with a choice of juices.  I opted for fresh strawberry.   Breakfast was served on proper plates and dishes, with metal cutlery as opposed to that served in Economy.  There was cheese, olives, tomatoes.   Fresh fruit...melon, oranges, kiwi, grapes.   A cheese and pepper omelette, served with mushrooms.   Fresh bread rolls, and little pots of jam.   And a large cup of delicious coffee.

I was first off the plane in Istanbul, and discovered that there is a separate Passport Control for Business queues.

Now I'm in the Lounge.  It's very peaceful, has excellent free wifi, and lots of food and drinks to choose from, also free.

You can read about it HERE.    I'm on my second cup of delicious filter coffee, but after the substantial breakfast on the flight from Bodrum, I can't eat another thing....although the quality of food on offer is very tempting!

.........................I'm going to stop here to go and catch my flight to London, and will continue my experiences later......................................................................

SUNDAY MORNING...continued.

The flight from Istanbul to Heathrow was very enjoyable.  We set off an hour late, mainly because of security checks.  Even when we were ready to take off several security men entered the cabin and did a check of everyone's hand luggage.  I personally don't mind delays of this kind.  I have always felt safer in Turkish airports because they are pretty hot on security, and it reassures me.

Before take off Business section passengers are served drinks.   Our seats are comfortable, with lots of leg room, and on some aircraft can extend into beds.  On this flight that wasn't the case, but the seat did recline sufficiently, and there were also extendable leg and foot rests.   Individual screens were concealed in the large space between seats for each passenger to use for watching videos, games, etc.

In Economy, food is served in those small sectioned trays...all in one go, and drinks at the same time.  I've always been impressed with Turkish airlines food, but the meal in Business was so much more impressive.

A menu was brought to us and a drinks list.   The drinks on offer are pretty much the same as for Economy, with the addition of champagne...which I decided to have.  (I don't often get the opportunity to drink champagne, so this was a real treat).

The menu consisted of 5 courses.  Again everything served on real plates with metal cutlery.  The starter was a selection of mezes, followed by stuffed aubergine.  A choice of three main courses.  A mango dessert, a selection of cheeses, and coffee.  And it was waiter service for each course.

All in all a very pleasant experience from start to finish.

It is certainly worth doing your sums when you book flights.  It's all too easy to opt for the "cheap" deals, but always take the hidden extras into consideration.  I have often found that once you add all these things up, it can work out as much, if not more, expensive than a scheduled flight, where baggage allowance, and food/drinks on the flight are included in the price of the ticket.

I have also discovered that occasionally, if you book well in advance online, there are special promotions with Turkish Airlines.  For example, I have made a reservation for next April to visit my grandsons for their birthdays, and noticed that for just a bit extra I could fly in comfort and luxury again, because there is a promotion running at that time for Business class.  It's a non-refundable/non-changeable ticket of course, but if, like me, you are sure of your dates, it's worth paying a little extra.

One of the flights necessitates a 9 hour stopover in Istanbul airport, which I would absolutely hate if I was travelling Economy, but with Business you can spend a very relaxing day in the Lounge.  Alternatively you can take advantage of Turkish Airlines guided tour of Istanbul.   This is also free, and includes entry to museums and historic places, lunch, and transport from and return to the airport for your flight.

Read more about Tour Istanbul HERE.

And finally I've managed some sleep after being awake for 20 hours.  I spent a few hours with my daughter and grandsons last night, and can't wait to see them again today.  A busy couple of weeks ahead.